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so what's the deal with aluminum?

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daddyzero

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I'm curious about something; I know that aluminum is sort of universally frowned upon in the metal community, but what are the real disadvantages of using an aluminum brew kettle. The reason I ask is because there is a Vietnamese supermarket in my city that sells these ridiculously large aluminum pots for what would be dirt cheap compared to stainless or enamel. I've got one of the smaller ones that I use for cooking, and they are pretty well put together by the good folks at chue chin hua limited partnership, but I wanted to get some opinions before I plunk down some money and bring one home.
 

loopmd

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It's been a talked about topic on these boards before. One thread is here. I personally have brewed a couple of batches on my turkey fryer pot that is aluminum and not experienced anything bad. I have since gone to a ceramic pot, albiet smaller, I needed to get away from my turkey frying pot as I thought there was too much risk of contamination. (frying turkeys in it too!) If you can get a good deal on an aluminum pot you like, I would say go for it. It sounds like you wouldn't be out much if you don't like it.

dave
 

Janx

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It doesn't affect the flavor of beer. The urban myth that aluminium is very unstable and taints everything it touches is untrue. Canned beer tastes bad because it's crappy beer...not because of the can, which is very stable. Coke doesn't taste aluminiumy, right?

The main concern with aluminium is health claims. There have been reports that cooking in it can increase the likelihood of alzheimers. Nothing has ever been definitively proven.

Most everyone ends up brewing in aluminium at some point or other because of the cost. We used to do 10 gallon batches in a huge aluminium kettle. I admit I like stainless better, just because it gives me the warm fuzzies, but I never noticed anything off about the beer that could be attributed to the aluminium.

Cheers! :D
 

homebrewer_99

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I've been using aluminum pots (I have 2) ever since I started brewing.
I don't know of any dangers.

If anyone can enlighten me on the subject I'll be glad to listen. Until then I will continue using mine.
 
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daddyzero

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homebrewer_99 said:
I've been using aluminum pots (I have 2) ever since I started brewing.
I don't know of any dangers.

If anyone can enlighten me on the subject I'll be glad to listen. Until then I will continue using mine.
Good to know. One time I asked a friend of mine who is a geriatrician just what the health risks of cooking in aluminum are and this is what he told me. The only time cooking in aluminum can contribute to risk of alzheimers is if you are cooking something highly acidic in it (spachetti sauce, for example), and even then, it has to be something you do all the time. But as Janx pointed out, nothing has been proven.
 
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Janx said:
The main concern with aluminium is health claims. There have been reports that cooking in it can increase the likelihood of alzheimers.
I've been using an aluminum pot as well. Not just for beer brewing but other things as well. Uhm, I was going to say something else but I forgot what it was...
 

Janx

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daddyzero said:
The only time cooking in aluminum can contribute to risk of alzheimers is if you are cooking something highly acidic in it (spachetti sauce, for example), and even then, it has to be something you do all the time.
Beer wort is also acidic, which is why homebrewers have been concerned over this in the past.
 

homebrewer_99

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I know metals in our systems SHOULD be of great concern to everyone.

Prior to WWII there were no known cases of autism in the world. Now it's estimated that 1 in 166 American children has autism. Many believe it is caused by the mercury in vaccines called thimerosal.

Hmmm, beer come in aluminum cans....something to think about also.

What was the question? :confused:
 

Rhoobarb

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Janx said:
It doesn't affect the flavor of beer. The urban myth that aluminium is very unstable and taints everything it touches is untrue. ...
I'm with Janx on this one. Every restaurant in the country uses aluminum stockpots. I got my aluminum (or aluminium, for our British friends) brew pot dirt cheap at a good restaurant supply house near me several years ago. I have never experienced off flavors.
 

92greenyj

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I also brew in aluminum. I have a big arse 30 gallon pot that i use for the boil, and a smaller 6 gallon that i use to bring my H20 up to temp for mashing. got the big sucker for 65 bucks at a local restaurant supply shop (it was used) and the 6 gallon came with the outdoor propane turkey fryer set up we bought to brew on. Havent had any issues yet
 

tnlandsailor

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I'm pretty sure that Aluminum beverage cans are lined. But given that, I'll still side with most of the folks on this thread that the whole aluminum "scare" is way overblown. I'll bet you would die from cirhossis of the liver before you drank enough homebrew made in an aluminum pot to die from aluminum ingestion. My 2 cents.

Prosit,
 

92greenyj

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tnlandsailor said:
I'm pretty sure that Aluminum beverage cans are lined. But given that, I'll still side with most of the folks on this thread that the whole aluminum "scare" is way overblown. I'll bet you would die from cirhossis of the liver before you drank enough homebrew made in an aluminum pot to die from aluminum ingestion. My 2 cents.

Prosit,
Well said. and thats pretty much true of anything. like red dfye number 40 causing cancer. sure, if ya drink a gallon of the stuff a day. Anything will kill you these days. but lets face it, youd have to ingest an ubsurd amount of any of it for it to really harm you.
 

TDorty3

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Who cares about the health risks aluminum brew pots may bring? Here is some breaking news.... you're going to die eventually.

And as for the taste.... it sounds like it shouldn't have an affect on the beer. But then again, maybe it does and it tastes good.

Taste is in the mouth of the beerholder.
 

cbotrice

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All alm beverage cans are lined, coke would eat through a can in about a week if it wasn't lined. (dated a girl who worked for largest can company in the states) Aluminum is a "reactive" metal, meaning it will react with acidic materials and impart a flavor or color change on them. If you left your wort sit in a alm pot for long enough it might change the taste, but I wouldn't know how long that is. The corny kegs used to hold coke and pepsi so they had to be ss so they wouldn't be eroded by the citric acid in the syrups. I am going to guess that alm kegs are lined with a film, though they may not be. If they are not lined, then storing beer in alm is ok as it sits in commercial kegs for some time before serving and it doesn't change the beer. MPW
 

kilroy

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I have heard that "Raw/Un-Tarnished" Aluminium is toxic, but that it also oxidizes very quickly, once it is oxidized, (the state of most AL in the world unless polished daily) it is safe to use. The oxidization puts a nice protective "rust" that keeps the nasties out.

Like I said - this is hearsay, but .....

Kilroy
 

tnlandsailor

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Aluminum oxidizes in the presence of air in seconds. If you take a knife and scratch the surface, it will be reoxidized before you can put beer in it. It is possible to dissolve the oxide layer with an acid (beer wort is acidic), but even then, the debate here is over whether or not aluminum has negative effects on human health. In addition, what does the process of fermentation do to the actual aluminum ions that make it into the beer? I don't actually know, just curious.
 
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